Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bike Week!

As you probably know, May is Bike Month,  and next week is Bike Week, and next Friday is Bike to Work Day (aren't they all?)  Although the whole concept is a bit patronizing for people who ride all the time, it is (generally) a glorious time of year to ride a bike,  and it's a chance to interact with the community of other bikers a little more than with a nod at a stoplight or a "on your left"   Boston is really trying to get people involved as an attempt to get people to try 2 wheels.  Even if it doesn't stick,  I'm really appreciative, because I'm convinced  that the core of sharing the road is empathy (seeing the biker as someone just like you).  And if these events get more people to try 2 wheels, even if they don't make the commitment to doing it regularly, they can see what it's like, and hopefully adjust their driving accordingly.

The "traditional" bike event for this time of year is a "Bike Breakfast"  I guess because rush hour is more concntrated in the morning than in the evening?  Or assorted pastries and coffee are easier to arrange than lunch?  In any case, it's often kind of like an awkward cocktail party, sans booze.
Cambridge is pretty good about hosting them,  although not all of them are listed in the massbike calendar: there's a schedule here of the locations for each day.  The Broadway bicycle Pancake breakfast is great, I'm told,  and the Harvard Breakfast on Wednesday has lots of good schwag like maps and lights.

Thursday night there's a really cool sounding talk with bicycle planners from Portland OR, SFO and NYC.  I'm really bummed that I have a meeting that night that I scheduled a while ago, so can't make it.  This kind of event is the kind of thing that I think is a better way to celebrate bikes  than a stale croissant.

Friday however there's an event close to my heart,  the Dress up ride, sponsored by the Swiss Consulate.  It was not well publicized last year, and I spent too much time talking to a kind of creepy guy who fit all the weird bike commuter stereotypes (including neon colors and spandex), but it was still fun, and for me, better than the other caravans that come into downtown.  If you commute downtown, and ride in your work clothes, please consider joining us!

I actually make an extra special effort to ride in dressy clothes this week to set an example (hopefully) of how easy it is.  I'm kind of in the "breaking out the floaty dresses part of the season"  anyway,  so it's pretty much what I'd be wearing anyway.


  1. I am only two weeks into commuting to the high school where I teach. So far I've been riding in my "uniform" of school spirit T-shirts and either jeans or khakis and Converse.

    These are fine for Houston mornings when it's 70-75 degrees, but it kills me in the afternoon when it's 90-95 degrees and 90% humidity.

    Do you ever change into your clothes after your ride (or change out of them before going home)?

    Thanks for the advice,

  2. Hi Laura,
    Congrats on the commuting!
    I will admit that most of my dressed up commuting in Houston was during the cooler months. During the summer in Boston, I tend to wear a lot of skirts (better airflow) and sleeveless or short sleeve shirts,or camisoles, which I then layer with long sleeve shirts or cardigans when I'm in the (over) airconditioned office. I don't generally change, mainly because back when I did that I had too many times when I forgot something critical (like one sock, or a foundation garment, or all my undergarments- that was a bad one ). If you're more organized than I am, you could definitely bring a change of clothes for before and/or after.

    People have different approaches- I'm a big fan of Purell type alcohol gel, and will wipe down with that after I get in on a hot morning.
    I don't mind being damp, I just don't want to be smelly, and the alcohol gel kills any odor producing bacteria.
    I have two other suggestions- I've taken to carrying linen hankies, for mopping my brow when I get somewhere and want my face not to be sweaty. This might not work as well if I wore makeup.
    I also get a glass of ice water as soon as I get into the office, which cools you off "from the inside" and helps you stop sweating faster.
    Between the icewater, the hankie and the purell wipedown, I feel pretty fresh within 10 minutes of arriving at work in hot weather.

    There are lots of great tips for riding in hot weather from Let's Go Ride a Bike as well.
    Keep up the biking, and good luck getting through the end of the semester!

  3. If you enjoy Bike Week, why not consider taking the Car-Free Challenge June 1 through June 7? For more information, check out